Fraxel lasers, or fractional resurfacing lasers, use microscopic light beams to generate micro-injuries on the skin. This process triggers the skin’s healing process – layer by layer, older and damaged skin is naturally replaced by fresh and healthy skin cells.

There are three types of Fraxel laser treatments: Fraxel Re:pair, Fraxel Re:store, and Fraxel Dual, and we offer all three of them at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego. These Fraxel systems which I discuss in this video, are just some of the 50+ lasers and devices we offer our patients to rejuvenate their skin. These effective treatments have become some of the most popular solutions for achieving beautiful skin. 

I know having your skin problems blasted away with a laser can sound intimidating. And how do you know which type of laser is right for you? Here’s my guide to Fraxel lasers and how each type of treatment can benefit your skin.

Fraxel Re:pair

Among the three types of Fraxel lasers, Fraxel Re:pair is the most aggressive. As a fractional CO2 or ablative laser, this means it’s a wounding type of laser. It works by delivering an intense wavelength of light to virtually any part of the body, vaporizing tiny columns of skin which are replaced with new collagen and elastin tissue, creating a rejuvenating effect. We use this type of laser (similar to ActiveFX & DeepFX CO2 lasers) primarily for scars and wrinkles, but can also be used for photodamage, sun damage, and textural improvement.

Fraxel Re:pair can effectively treat general skin irregularities such as:

  • Sunspots and age spots
  • Uneven skin tone and texture
  • Deep lines and wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Scarring (acne scars, surgical scars, and traumatic scars)
  • Melasma
  • Precancerous lesions

Fraxel Re:pair patients can expect the following benefits:

  • Smoother, healthier-looking skin
  • Diminished deep lines and wrinkles
  • Reduction or elimination of age spots
  • Even skin tone
  • Tighter/firmer skin
  • Immediate results that improve over time
  • Long-lasting effects
  • Less downtime compared to traditional lasers

Fraxel Re:pair will require some downtime. For about a week, patients can expect redness, swelling, and crusting. There will also be some pinpoint bleeding and a little bit of oozing which will need some wound care (a thin layer of ointment will be applied after treatment). Recovery will vary from patient to patient, but I suggest waiting 5-7 days before returning to work or resuming normal activities in San Diego. While recovering for a week, it is important to stay out of the sun to allow the skin to heal properly.

1 session of the 30-45 minute procedure is usually enough to get optimal results. As a laser expert, I will assess your needs and will design a customized treatment plan suitable for your skin goals.

Fraxel Re:store

Fraxel Re:store is a non-ablative (non-destructive) procedure that uses a fractional Erbium laser that targets only a fraction of the skin. Specifically, it uses a 1550 nm wavelength to heat the skin and stimulate collagen production. Unlike Re:pair, Re:store does not vaporize the outer layers of the skin. In other words, Re:pair works to remove tissue, whereas Re:store thermally heats the tissue. The Re:store procedure, therefore, makes for a gentler alternative treatment with minimal downtime.

And since Re:pair is more aggressive, it is more suitable for severely damaged skin while Re:store resurfaces moderately damaged skin, making it more appropriate for treating mild wrinkles, pigmentation, and textural irregularities.

Fraxel Re:store can effectively treat general skin concerns such as:

  • Fine-to-moderate lines and wrinkles (most effective for correcting superficial facial lines)
  • Brown spots
  • Discolored and sun-damaged skin
  • Acne scars and rosacea

Fraxel Re:store is safe and effective for resurfacing the following areas:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Chest

Fraxel Re:store patients can expect the following benefits:

  • Improved skin tone
  • Improved skin color
  • Improved skin texture

While generally safe, laser resurfacing may cause side effects such as swelling, redness, and bruising around the treated area(s). These should subside within a week. As a less aggressive form of treatment, Re:store can improve fine lines and smooth skin texture with very little downtime (typically no more than a day).

I recommend that patients undergo the 30-minute session every 2-3 weeks for 4-6 treatments for optimal results.

Fraxel Dual

Fraxel Dual is the latest generation of Fraxel lasers. It goes beyond the original Fraxel Re:store treatment system and splits the difference between its predecessors. It combines the efficacy of ablative lasers with the gentler benefits of non-ablative lasers. It uses two different wavelengths – one that targets surface pigmentation and one that penetrates deeper to work on lines and wrinkles. One wavelength is the updated 1550 nm wavelength Erbium which is faster and more effective than earlier versions. We frequently use this wavelength for acne scarring, surgical scarring, fine lines, pore size, and textural improvement. The second laser is a Thulium 1927nm –a superficial laser that is efficient in precisely removing pigmented spots while leaving more surrounding tissue unharmed. We commonly use this wavelength for pigmentation (particularly from sun damage), brown spots, and even some cases of melasma.

As another non-ablative laser, Dual offers a gentle approach to skin rejuvenation. While Re:pair is excellent at treating a broad range of skin problems typically in older people, Dual, is designed to target and minimize lines, scars, and pigmentation. This type of treatment is also more commonly used on younger patients.

Fraxel Dual can effectively treat general skin concerns such as:

  • Sun or age spots
  • Acne scars
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Photo-aging
  • Overall dull complexion and poor skin texture

Fraxel Dual is safe and effective for resurfacing the following areas:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Back

Fraxel Dual patients can expect the following benefits:

  • Improved skin tone and texture
  • Diminished deep lines and wrinkles
  • Reduction or elimination of age spots
  • Improved appearance of acne scars and surgical scars 

In comparison to Re:store, the two capabilities of the Dual offer a more thorough treatment for more advanced skin issues. Specifically, Dual has these advantages over Re:store:

  • Improved Erbium 1550 nm laser means fewer treatments
  • More comfortable experience because of the laser’s cooling technique that limits any burning or pain during the procedure
  • More precise treatment
  • Deeper treatment to better stimulate collagen production
  • Quicker procedure (15 minutes or less for the face)

Recovery will typically include swelling and redness during the first 2-3 days before the skin browns as if you’ve got sunburned. There is no bleeding, no oozing, and no special wound care required. You simply have to temporarily avoid the sun while your skin heals. There could also be 2-3 days of skin flaking as the treated areas are replaced by newer, softer skin. Generally, downtime will take 3-7 days total and you get great results. One treatment in our San Diego office can result in noticeably clearer skin within 7-10 days. 1 session is usually enough but can be repeated every 6 months to maintain optimal results.

3 Types of Fraxel Lasers At A Glance

fraxel laser treatment comparison infographic in san diego, ca

In summary, laser technology today offers a wide variety of devices that can be used together to treat multiple conditions at a time. At Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, we not only provide the most advanced laser treatments available, but we are also pioneers in dermatologic laser applications. When you come to see me, depending on your skin condition and aesthetic goals, I can offer a combination of laser treatments to optimize your results without having to spend too much time in our office. To learn more about fraxel laser treatments, visit ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Schedule a Laser Treatment Appointment Today at our San Diego Med Spa

To know more about Cosmetic Laser Surgery’s Fraxel lasers, schedule a consultation in our San Diego office today. We’ll gladly answer your questions about how Fraxel and our other laser treatments can benefit you, and explain other ways Fraxel can help signs of aging, such as revitalizing neck skin

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